As we ease into convention season, the comics news starts to slow down so publishers have something to discuss in panels. You know, other than garbage news items about the dangers of trying to be funny in 140 characters or less.

So we briefly discuss the next step in the million-mile march toward San Diego Comic-Con: hotel sales, which happened last Wednesday. We also talk about a superhero movie that we missed in 2016: X-Men: Apocalypse, which didn’t really interest us at the time – seeing Oscar Issac painted blue is only a gimme draw if you’re in his fraternity – but which really impressed us now that it’s on cable.

We also talk about some of this week’s books:

  • The Flash #21, written by Joshua Williamson with art by Howard Porter,
  • Action Comics #978, written by Dan Jurgens with art by Carlo Barberi,
  • Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1, written by Peter David with art by Mark Bagley, and:
  • Detective Comics #955, written by James Tynion IV with art by Marcio Takara!

What’s that? You want disclaimers?

  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to give warnings ahead of time, if you don’t want to find out why Angel is a terrible character in X-Men: Apocalypse, I don’t know why you’re listening, since you’ve clearly never read a comic book before.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. During this episode, Amanda says, “Touch the fishy.” Your boss won’t want to know why. So get some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

hadrians_wall_1_coverAfter yet another cripplingly busy week at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office (and, to be honest, after about a quart of single malt scotch and a few belts of mescal), we only had the time to discuss a few of the comics of the week. But that turns out to have been a good decision; since we didn’t have time to fully discuss and coordinate our choices, we wound up with a couple of polarizing choices upon which we didn’t really agree.

This led to a conversation that ranged from deciding where on the Kubler-Ross scale of grief we are with regards to Watchmen characters still appearing in DC: Rebirth books (Rob is at “Bargaining”, Amanda is “amused at Rob’s Bargaining”), how James Tynion IV made Rob care about Spoiler for the first time, whether there’s enough nostalgia in the world to make innovative visual storytelling enough to bring Steve Austin into the 21st Century, and how Amanda’s battle against scotch last night went (picture Amanda as Rocky and scotch as Apollo Creed).

So what comics do we talk about?

  • Detective Comics #940, written by James Tynion IV with art by Eddy Barrows,
  • Lady Killer Volume 2 #2, written and drawn by Joelle Jones,
  • The Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man #3, written by Van Jensen with art by Ron Salas, and:
  • Hadrian’s Wall #1, written by Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel, with art by Rod Reis!

And, as usual, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to find out who dies in this week’s Detective Comics (hint: it’s not Batman), then consider yourself forewarned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. See that title? It’s because we talk about Lee Majors and a plaster cast. You want your boss asking about that? Then get some earphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

tick_amazonWe’re not gonna apologize here: we love The Tick. During the 1980s Rob was a regular customer of the Brockton, MA New England Comics retail store where The Tick was born, Amanda was a fan of the 1990s Fox cartoon that brought the character to national prominence, and we both enjoyed the Patrick Warburton live action show from back in the day when your live action TV superhero choices were The Tick, Smallville or (God help us) Black Scorpion.

So we were excited when Amazon Prime video announced that part of their 2016 comedy pilot season would be a new, live action version of The Tick. And as fans of the character from the days he was a Daredevil parody through his more silly Saturday morning cartoon adventures, we were excited to see the character back in live action… but we really weren’t expecting what we got from the show. It’s a much darker, more psychological take on the character than we’ve seen maybe since the first few Ben Edlund issues of the comic book, and yet still pretty funny. And we had a lot of fun talking about it, on its own merits and in comparison with earlier versions of the character.

What’s that? You don’t have an Amazon Prime membership and you want to see the episode we’re talking about? Well, you can see it for free on your computer, and even find a link to a survey where you can give Amazon your feedback on the show.

We also discuss:

  • Kingsway West #1, written by Greg Pak with art by Mirko Colak,
  • Civil War II: Ulysses #1, written by Al Ewing with art by Karl Kesel, and:
  • Detective Comics #939, written by James Tynion IV with art by Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira!

And, as usual, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know whether Warren Ellis fan Al Ewing spends more time developing the character of Warren Ellis’s Karnak or Brian Michael Bendis’s Ulysses, consider yourself officially warned. You don’t need to be warned, but you are.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Let’s just say that, “Spoon!” is not the strongest word we shout during the show. Consider ear buds.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

secret_wars_teaser_alex_rossIt is Mother’s Day today, which means a somewhat shorter and truncated show this week. Because when you’re a son or a daughter, you need to honor your mother on Mother’s Day. And it turns out that you need to do that whether you remember she’s visiting that day, or whether they need blind telephone technical support for several hours. Because she’s the woman who gave birth to you, and saying, “But we have a podcast to record!” isn’t a good excuse. Particularly when you don’t want Mom to know that you have a podcast.

So this week, we take advantage of the fact that Convergence is half over to discuss the previews of post-Convergence books, both new and old, that DC has released this week. The books run the gamut from humor to sci-fi to action to apparent political horror, so we talk about Doomed, Red Hood and Arsenal, Starfire, Midnighter, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Omega Men, Detective Comics, Section Eight, and Prez.

But the big deal in this week’s comics was the first issue of Marvel’s Secret Wars, where Jonathan Hickman spits on his hands and takes Marvel the whole Crisis route. However, Secret Wars #1 isn’t Crisis. So we talk about how Hickman has put Marvel through it’s own Kobayashi Maru test, and given us a superhero story where nobody acts like a superhero, everyone seems to act in their own self-interest, and heroes act like they never have before in order to make sure everyone’s in the right place to service the plot. Ultimately, we talk about how this is a story that is very consistent with Hickman’s general style… and how that might not be the best thing for some of these characters.

And now, the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like speculation about the musky flavor profile of Dead Guy Whiskey.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that you are going to learn exactly why Reed Richards is a d**k.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Unless you want your employer to learn our new cocktails based on Dead Guy Whiskey, get some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

c2e2_logoWe conclude our coverage of C2E2 2015 with a recap of the Caped Crusaders, Dynamic Duos and Darkest Knight panel (or just the Batman panel when it’s at home), featuring Batman writer Scott Snyder as moderator, with Batman Eternal writer James Tynion IV, Detective Comics writer Brian Buccallato, Gotham by Midnight writer Ray Fawkes, and the upcoming Robin: Son of Batman writer / artist Patrick Gleason.

So in this episode, we bring you a ton of audio clips of these guys (well, mostly Scott Snyder) talking about upcoming storylines in Detective Comics, Gotham by Midnight and Robin: Son of Batman… but at the time of this panel, we were only four days away from the conclusion of Batman: Endgame in the core Batman title, and only a week away from the debut of the new “RoboBunny” Batman in DC’s Free Comic Book Day offering, Divergence. So we feature a bunch of clips of Snyder and company talking about the new Batman, the process in creating him, the reasoning behind the new direction, and a few new tidbits about him that you might not have heard elsewhere, all from the mouths of the creators!

And, since Batman #40 has been released since this panel, we not only feature several clips of Snyder talking about what Batman: Endgame means to him, but we review and discuss the issue!

Thanks for listening to our C2E2 coverage. We return to our normal weekly schedule on Sunday, May 3rd, with an episode about Avengers: Age of Ultron, featuring a couple of very cool guests!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

detective_comics_23_cover_2013-230126755When it comes to Batman continuity in the post New 25 / Grant Morrison world, DC Comics really needs to get its shit together. Because for an editorial division that seems, based on constant hirings and firings and reports of last-minute story changes, to want to keep their hands on their creators’ throttles (assuming “throttles” is what we’re calling them now), they really don’t seem to know what’s happening in their own books at any given time.

Just last week, Morrison completed his story arc on Batman Incorporated. That series, as you might be able to tell somewhat by its title, is ostensibly about Bruce Wayne’s public financing of not only Batman, but an army of regional Batman around the world. The events of Batman Incorporated are, at least in part, considered canon throughout the DC Universe, given the sheer number of recent issues I’ve read about Batman moping over the death of Damian. The introduction to this series was a scene, written by one of DC’s most popular creators, where Bruce Wayne calls a press conference to announce that he is the man who finances Batman.

Welcome to Detective Comics #23, an issue where a significant plot point hinges on the idea that Bruce Wayne’s financing of Batman’s arsenal isn’t common knowledge. But the good news is that giant continuity flaw is almost enough to mask the other gaping plot holes in the issue.

Editor’s Note: I acknowledge that these pictures suck. We’ll upgrade our cameras once we receive your subscription check. Oh, you don’t pay for this? Then fuck you and enjoy the pictures you got.

Last year we kind of wandered into the panel for Scott Snyder’s American Vampire, mostly to make sure we’d have a seat for the DC New 52 panel that followed directly afterwards. Don’t get me wrong, we were following American Vampire in kind of a general way, but I had fallen away; the initial hype around one of the early stories being written by Stephen King hadn’t been enough to keep me in the book except in a “flip through when I happened to see it on the shelf” way. The point is that last year, we were able to walk right into Snyder’s panel without having to wait around in a line.

That was 2011. This year, Snyder’s writing Batman, which has consistently been one of the best books of DC’s New 52 and the source of the first post-reboot DC crossover event. So this time around, for the Batman panel yesterday? Yeah, we waited in line.

The Batman panel covered all the Batman family books, from Batman to Red Hood And The Outlaws… meaning walking in Amanda and I steeled ourselves for exciting news running the gamut from Batman’s post-Owls Joker encounter to Starfire’s post-Red Hood stranger’s penis encounter. However, weird former Teen Titan sex revelations or no, Snyder started the panel off with a laugh: “Avengers Vs. X-Men, who wins? Batman.” I hate it when my comic writers are funnier than I am. But I digress.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Spoiler alert! No, not Stephanie Brown, I just ruin the story for you.

The first four issue arc of Detective Comics was one of the most pleasant surprises of DC Comics’ New 52: tightly written with an interesting new villain, excellent art, and with the best cliffhanger of all September’s comics where The Joker’s face is apparently torn off and nailed to a wall. And what was most remarkable about the run to me was that it was written by Tony Daniel, who is first and foremost an artist. Now we’re on issue five. And it turns out that as a writer? Maybe Tony Daniel is a hell of an artist.

This  issue really felt like Daniel said, “Okay, I put my all into those first four issues… now what the fuck am I gonna do?” He opens up with a riff on Occupy Wall Street – which means he probably only came up with this arc within the past couple of months – and since this protest is pro-Joker, it just falls flat to me. Don’t get me wrong, as a Watchmen fan, I am totally willing to accept the concept of a good anti-vigilante demonstration in comics, but pro-Joker? In Gotham City? That’s about as believable as a pro al-Queda rally in lower Manhattan, or a pro-Beiber riot in Max’s Kansas City. It just doesn’t ring true.

You didn’t ask for it. We didn’t want to do it. And yet we own microphones and whiskey, so Crisis On Infinite Midlives is proud to present our the first episode of our podcast: The Sack Of Justice!

EDITOR’S NOTE: You might ask what the title means. It means we had whiskey, and sack is a funny word. Don’t overthink this. God knows we didn’t.

This weeks topics include: the first two weeks of DC’s New 52 (Including Batgirl, Deathstroke, Detective Comics, Red Lanterns, Men At War, and Hipster Douchebag Superman – I mean Action Comics), Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales, Williams’ Batwoman and associated Bat Nipples, and Atomic Robo vs. Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. vs Hellboy!

Let’s make this a drinking game: every time you hear us slur or misname a creator, drink! Then by the time this is done, you’ll be as drunk as we were when we recorded this!

Tony Daniel draws one hell of a Batman. He’s got some kind of bastardized mixture of 1990’s McFarlane, modern Jim Lee fine line and detail work going that makes things just look exciting and keep the eye on the panel, combined with enough broadly inked, shadowed, Frank Miller-style panels of Batman in silouette that mix together to make an instantly recognizable, iconic style of Batman art. Of all this week’s New 52, Detective Comics #1 is probably my favorite in the art department, which is saying a lot considering this week included work by Rags Morales, George Perez and Yanick Paquette. Then again, considering this week’s art included Rob Liefeld’s Hawk & Dove, Daniel could have drawn Batman as: “>(:|)-<=<” and still not been my least favorite. Seriously, though: I’m liking the look of this book.

Daniel is putting together a pretty solid entry-level Batman plot in this book as well. Make no mistake; for the first 18 pages or so, he’s not exactly reinventing the wheel: Batman feeling tortured by failing to prevent the Joker’s murders, persuing Joker relentlessly only to end chase to save a little girl from danger and evading capture by the police via an attack helicopter chase, all in Batman’s first major story following a reboot, is not exactly groundbreaking storytelling (*cough* *cough* Dark Knight Returns *cough*). But Daniel keeps the story moving along and entertaining, and breaks up what could be considered derivative by introducing the concept that Joker might commit his crimes while naked, which made even this old Batman fan take notice and comment: “AAAAAAAAAAANOOAAAAAWHYYAAAAAAA”.